CE Pro Announces 2016 Quest for Quality Winners
Our 6th annual Quest for Quality Awards puts vendors and distributors in the industry spotlight, thanks to nearly 7,200 readership votes in recognition of their outstanding services.
CE Pro Editors · April 1, 2016
“Our website is our storefront, so it’s our goal to help integrators get in and out as fast as possible with everything they need, whether that’s through easy ordering, realtime stock status, or helpful product information. We want to make it the easiest, most convenient experience they have.” —Bike Howard, Vice President, ECommerce
“We dedicate a great deal of resources to make our website useful to our dealers, partners and their customers. Actually, nonregistered users only see the tip of the iceberg. Over the years we’ve developed web applications to empower our partners to obtain pricing, download detailed CAD drawings, review product specifications, configure customizable products, schedule visits to our showrooms and Experience Centers, request marketing materials, update software and firmware, and receive online training or book classes. And that’s just a sampling. In addition, our award-winning True Blue support team maintains an extensive database of support cases that enable our dealers to quickly find answers to frequently asked questions. Our quest to enhance the website never ends. Receiving this recognition motivates us to keep pushing the envelope to help our partners and customers in new and more creative ways.” —Crestron
“Sonance believes in offering our customers the finest quality products and services in the custom installation industry. This philosophy also extends into our online services as well. We take every step to ensure that the quoting, ordering, account managing, and even returning of our products is as effortless as possible. We are honored that our site has been recognized as a valuable tool amongst our customers.” —Jack Hill, Director of Marketing
“KEF’s partnership with our dealers is very important. We went through a lot of effort to make sure the dealer experience has the same level of high quality as our products (which are all designed, engineered, and manufactured by KEF). It is important to us that when you call into the office, you get a real person on the phone. From technical questions to checking shipping status, you can always talk with a real person. The personal touch is what really sets KEF apart.” —Dipin Sehdev, Internet Marketing and Brand Relations
“Today, the web is often the first place people go to learn more about an interesting topic, product, or service. Lutron puts information at your fingertips with useful tools such as The Energy Calculator, LED Center of Excellence, installation guides, specification sheets, and more. Our online tools help our customers to learn about our products and how our products will significantly enhance their living experience.” —David Weinstein, Vice President, Residential
“Savant’s website puts the focus squarely on the customer experience. Through a mix of beautiful lifestyle photography and crisp product renders, Savant makes it easy for consumers to imagine what it’s like to live in a Savant Home. The website is easy to navigate, relatable in tone, and offers a premium feel that ensures customers feel like Savant is the right choice for their home.” —Sarah Harrington, Corporate Marketing
“Luxul is all about helping professional installers create an exceptional customer experience — and any great installation starts with a reliable IP network. Our educational webinars and training programs are designed to arm our dealers with the tools and understanding they need to deliver outstanding results. Professional installers are typically not IP experts, which can make networking a bit intimidating. Some vendors have even chosen to make networking more complicated than necessary as a strategy to sell certification and other services.
"In contrast, Luxul’s approach is to make dealer training programs and educational webinars completely free of charge, with the entire objective being to help make networking part of the dealer’s core competency and an asset instead of a liability. With the right products and a good understanding of a few key concepts, professional installers can quickly learn how to make IP networking a profitable part of their business and deliver a great customer experience.” —Clark Roundy, Vice President, Marketing
“We like to think we approach training a bit differently than others in our space, and winning an award in the Training category every year it has existed is hopefully proof that our dealers enjoy our events. We strive to make our trainings interactive, humorous and targeted while keeping the information at a level our audience understands. It doesn’t hurt to have products that are in such high demand as well as such a loyal dealer base that makes our hundreds of training events (each year) as enjoyable for us as it is educational for our dealers.” —Russ Hoffman, Director of Training & Technical Support
“The Crestron Technical Institute (CTI) provides the best training at our facilities around the world. Attendance at CTI not only provides personalized face-to-face training, but also solidifies relationships and opens lines of communication with Crestron technical staff. Our ever-expanding online training offers convenience and 24/7 access to information about installing and programming systems. With 57 training facilities worldwide, each staffed with dedicated instructors, CTI equips our customers and partners to compete in the A/V industry. Crestron offers a wide range of courses ranging from programming to design to installation.” —Crestron
“At RTI, we have an unwavering commitment to the custom integration channel and our dealers. Our goal is to provide our dealers with the best resources, training, and support for their business. For example, our Integration Designer programming software is only available to authorized dealers, while our Certified Dealer program ensures that potential clients can easily locate an RTI integration professional. This protects dealer profit margins and guarantees the best possible user experience for the end customer.
"For ongoing education, our Advanced Control University (ACU) has an ever-expanding offering of training resources to accommodate varying learning styles, including DevX2016, held April 19-21, where integrators will get hands-on training on writing two-way drivers. We also offer U.S. dealers our popular ‘Control Bucks’ incentive program, and our Accommodation Program, which offers RTI products at reduced pricing for showroom use. Finally, dealers can take part in the Case Study Program, which highlights their amazing installations on our website’s ‘Showcase’ section, social media, and RTI marketing collateral.” —Mike Everett, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Americas
“Sony immediately replaces any product damaged at the factory or during transit. There is relatively no hold time for Sony’s Tech Support. They know their product and they are always patient and respectful even when the call goes long.” —CE Pro Reader
SILVER — Crestron
“To show our appreciation for our dealers’ business and loyalty, we created the Crestron Partner Rewards Program (PRP), in which they can earn cash back on their Crestron purchases. With quarterly payouts, dealers don’t have to wait until year’s end to get paid. Better still, they can earn even more cash by growing their Crestron sales as compared to the same quarter in the prior year. It’s simple; the more our dealers grow with Crestron, the more cash they get back.” —Crestron
Dealer Protection Policies
“The biggest thing we’ve been able to achieve over the past few years with the CIS Custom Install Specialty program is to combine the R&D, manufacturing and brand power of one of the world’s most influential CE companies with the approachability, human touch and focus on specialty A/V that is generally associ-ated with specialist manufacturers. Our nationwide network of Manufacturer’s Reps, some of the best in the business, are available to build business plans, keep dealers informed of key promotional changes and assist with technical questions.
"From a distribution/pricing control perspective, our SURE program is one of the strongest unilateral pricing programs in the industry, and we control distribu-tion with a rigorous product buyback and tracing program. We also reward our best partners with the CIS Diamond program that allows them to compete on equal footing with larger national retailers. We’re appreciative of the support our dealers have shown us by voting us for these awards, and plan to continue to build on our mutual success in 2016.” —Frank Sterns, Vice President, AV Specialty/Custom Integration
“Sound matters, and the difference good sound makes to music and home theater is audible. As a specialty manufacturer, we know that better sound always delivers a better entertainment experience. Our dealers are in the specialty audio business because they believe the same! We count on our dealers to educate consumers about that difference and to demo that difference. For over 30 years we have built our business working in conjunction with the best independent specialists in the business. We have developed and refined our dealer programs and policies to be the best in the industry, and with providing the confidence to sell the highest performing brand on the market knowing that you won’t be undercut by either a mass merchant or an Internet dealer is not something we will continue to focus on.” —Justin Bright, Director of Marketing & Digital Technology
SILVER: Core Brands
“We appreciate being recognized for SpeakerCraft dealer protection policies. This is very important to us and our dealers. We launched a major brand protection initiative last year, not just for SpeakerCraft but for all Core Brands. It’s an ongoing effort and we are committed to ensuring that our authorized dealers all have the greatest opportunity to deliver a superior customer experience to their customers.” —Bill Hensley, Director, Marketing
Trade Show Presence
PLATINUM: Core Brands
“The ‘experience’ we deliver to dealers is fundamentally important to us and we try to bring that experience to all trade shows we attend, large and small. This Platinum award indicates it is working, but we’ll never stop trying to improve that experience.” —Bill Hensley, Director, Marketing
“Lutron takes great pride in supporting industry trade shows that deliver value to the attendees. We work to ensure that our show presence is informative, interactive, and clearly communicates value to the target audience. Our show staff is always knowledgeable, and our training sessions during the show provide additional opportunities to educate our customers.” —David Weinstein, Vice President, Residential
SILVER: Digital Projection Inc.
“From the now-famous massive jar of Tootsie Pops to the engaging imagery found throughout the exhibit, we strive to entertain everyone that enters our space. Attendees to the DPI booth know to expect a wide array of entertainment experiences, and should walk away from the exhibit feeling that projectors are vastly more flexible, immersive and engaging than they ever expected. Our dedicated home theater demos are legendary, our team is eager to educate, and we’re proud to represent elite home entertainment when we exhibit.” —Michael Bridwell, Vice President, Marketing and Home Entertainment
Social Media Presence
“My local Sonos manager meets with me and sends me analytics with numbers/graphs broken down to the amount of zones I install, allowing me to gauge my performance and make adjustments to keep trending in the right direction.” —CE Pro Reader
“We are honored to have been selected as a Q4Q winner in the Social Media Presence category for the third year in a row. To us, it’s a testament of brand loyalty from our dealers and customers, and the positive online relationship that we share with them. We’ve been able to establish a great social community by sharing homeowners’ stories, listening to and addressing concerns, hosting online product announcements and events, creating engaging content, and educating new fans and followers about the true benefits of smart home technology. We thank our dealers for their support that has contributed to our social media success, year after year.” —Crystal Watts, Marketing Communications Manager
“Social media is such an important part of how society receives information. We take pride in making sure customers are aware of our new products via several social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, and learn about the value of Lutron’s lighting, shade and temperature control solutions.” —David Weinstein, Vice President, Residential
Customer Service/General Communication
PLATINUM: Skywalker AV Supply
“People are what good business is all about. So, we focus on having good people to provide our customer service. As a company, our goal is to fill each dealer encounter with convenience and a smile in addition to our products. We value our dealers and we want it to show. Whether it’s great pricing, free shipping policies, or simply helping them plan a job, we’re sure to be their partner instead of just another supplier.” —Phil Billingham, Marketing Director
“We are so proud to be recognized for what we feel is the most important category for dealers. I think the advantage we have is that our entire team is made up of former dealers. We know firsthand how hard it is to run an integration company and how helpful it is when a vendor or partner provides fast support. Also, we are a ‘web-focused’ company, so our support has been tailor made for how the modern dealer communicates.” —Josh Willits, VP of Dealer Happiness
“AVAD provides their dealers with the best customer service through a variety of ways. At the forefront are our branch associates who are available in person or via telephone to give dealers recommendations, product information and tools to help get their jobs done profitably and help them grow their business. Our product guarantee offers dealers exchange and credit return options for products purchased from AVAD. The customer service guarantee allows dealers to exchange defected products within 30 days and return unopened product purchased from AVAD within 90 days for full-credit return, no questions asked.
“The Systems Design Group is a tool many dealers use to help them when getting into new product categories or when help is needed with a big job. Dealers can have their jobs spec’d and get installation diagrams to ensure the job runs smoothly. AVAD’s System Design Group helps dealers with a complete solution to digital signage services — whether the dealer is just getting started or simply needs help producing stellar content.
“Products specials and deals are offered nearly continuously via email and social media. Trainings for new products are offered regularly via live and on-demand webinars and at local and national training events. National events like Vendopalooza, Commercial Days and Opportunity Tours give dealers local face time with vendors and product specialists along with both technical and business training topics.” —Lei Lei Trock, Senior Marketing Manager
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